הנה מה טוב ומה נעים שבת אחים גם יחד
Behold how good and pleasant it is when all people live together (Psalms 133:1)
This verse is sung in countless schools and camps, including Machaneh Yavneh. It teaches us that coming together as a group is a mindful and intentional experience, and very much defines a community.
Coming together as a kehillah (community), as members of Machaneh Yavneh and of Klal Yisrael, requires acceptance, the courage to be our authentic selves, and the willingness to embrace diversity of all varieties.
Being a community should not be confused with uniformity. Within a community, there is space to be an individual – unique in interests, personal history, ability, and opinion. Machaneh Yavneh was created on this pillar. Its mission, from its inception, has been for different members of Klal Yisrael to congregate together in a safe space where individuality is embraced, as is our shared dedication to Judaism and Israel.
In the month of February, we celebrate Black History Month as well as Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM).
We are constantly evolving as a community. Through education, we learn how to do better in our efforts to be more inclusive and more sensitive to the individuals that make up our community. We turn to our Jewish texts and Jewish leaders, as well as historic and current leaders of the Black community, to guide us and remind us that community is an integral part of Judaism, and each individual has a place within our community.
We also learn from our mistakes. We take time to reflect on missteps of the past in order to provide for a future that includes doing everything possible to ensure that our community’s embrace encompasses all people.
As we prepare to come together for Summer 2021, we are reminded of the unique environment that is Machaneh Yavneh. We hope that as a kehillah we can tackle current hot-topic issues, listen to each other respectfully, and incorporate the wisdom from both the Black community and the differently abled members of the Jewish community.
We will be posting thought provoking and inspiring quotes from Black leaders and Jewish texts throughout the month of February. We hope that these quotes will be the start of meaningful conversations.